The programme was launched in 2003 as a pioneering approach in defending the rights of institutionalized people with mental disabilities, through a system of unannounced, regular monitoring visits aimed at identifying and bringing to the public authorities’ attention the way in which the law regarding the protection of the rights of institutionalized people with mental disabilities is being enforced.
In February 2004, during an unannounced monitoring visit we faced the reality of the Romanian institutions: over 18 persons deceased in less than a month, one 19 years old adolescent locked in a room and left to die and almost 100 people deceased of hypothermia and cachexia in less than an year in the Psychiatry and Safety Measures Hospital Poiana Mare, Dolj county. It followed a ten year period, during which CLR has asked the Romanian State, and later the European Human Rights Court to acknowledge the fact that the rights of those deceased in that hospital have been violated.
For over ten years, every year, abuses in tens of institutions have been investigated and repeatedly denounced to the Romanian and international authorities and courts of law by the CLR team.
THE PROGRAMME’S APPROACH
- The analysis of relevant laws and public documents;
- Conducting unannounced visits in centers or hospitals financed with public funds in which there are children, youth and adults with mental disabilities;
- Interviewing both beneficiaries and employees belonging to these institutions;
- Elaborating and remitting to the authorities an observation report on the way in which the law is enforced in the visited center;
- Soliciting a response on the authority’s behalf;
- Notifying those responsible every time we identify an abuse against the rights of institutionalized persons with mental disabilities;
- Media advocacy for promoting the rights of persons with mental disabilities;
- Initiating law proposals.